In college, students spend a lot of time by themselves. Most days, we do laundry alone, we eat alone and we run errands alone. That’s just what adulthood entails. But when mixed with all our other stressful exams, papers and projects, that isolation can be overwhelming. So how do you deal with being alone?
Take yourself out on a date.
The best way to learn to enjoy your solitude is to do fun things with yourself before dealing with the more mundane tasks, like a lonely Saturday brunch at Sargent. Here are some suggestions for the ideal solo date!
I’d start with a morning trip to this cute little bakery called Stan’s Donuts located on 181 N. Michigan Ave. If you’re craving a quick, sweet treat, I highly recommend ordering an Iced Hazelnut latte paired with the Lemon Raspberry Old-Fashioned donut. If you have dietary restrictions, their gluten-free and vegan options will do just as well! Regardless of what you order, grab it to-go and enjoy your meal at one of the benches facing The Bean. At Millenium Park, you can people-watch for fun or just relax and enjoy Chicago’s busy ambiance.
After that, you can spend a few hours walking down the halls of the Art Institute of Chicago, where admission is free with your Wildcard. The museum has an exhibition for everyone, and there’s nothing more relaxing than just wandering from piece to piece with a relaxing playlist to serve as your background music. In my opinion, museums were kind of meant to be visited alone, as you don’t have to worry about slowing or speeding up your pace when perusing. The only drawback is that you won't have anyone to take an artsy picture of you in front of some Monet painting, but I’m sure some passerby wouldn’t mind doing you the favor.
When you grow tired of meandering the museum’s many halls, I suggest a change of pace by heading to Chinatown for a filling lunch. My favorite restaurant here is a little place called The Noodle, where they serve the best seafood pho I’ve ever had. The portion sizes are always enough to curb my hunger for an entire day. It’s also quite reasonably priced; I usually spend under $15 for a full meal. I also recommend ordering one of their refreshing fruit smoothies — you won’t find anything as good in Evanston. For dessert, there’s a little crepe store nearby called Ice Max. Their sweets are a little costly, but the flavor does not disappoint. After all, this day revolves around having fun, so treating yourself to a crepe seems appropriate.
Following lunch, I’d head to Argyle for a few hours of thrifting. Thrifting is best done alone because you don’t have to share your finds with anyone, and you can take as long as you’d like while scouring the aisles. For the best places to thrift in Argyle, read my previous piece.
To end the day, I’d suggest heading back to campus for a solo marathon of your favorite Netflix series while wrapped up in the comfort of your blanket or an oversized hoodie. I’m still feeling festive from Halloween, so I’m planning to do this soon enough with a slew of old "Scooby-Doo" reruns.
As winter approaches, so does the onset of seasonal depression and finals, which leaves people feeling stressed, sad and overwhelmed. Take time out of your busy schedule to spend it on yourself. Doing so will acclimate you to dealing with the seemingly impossible challenge of solo lunches, and eventually, being alone at Allison won’t suck as much.